GILAS Pilipinas lost a key outside gunner following the decision of Larry Fonacier to beg off from the national pool, citing health reasons.
Fonacier, nicknamed 'Baby Face Assassin,' has been one of national coach Chot Reyes’ vital gunners off the bench during last year’s Fiba Asia men’s championships in Manila that saw Gilas finish a strong second behind Iran.
“It is with deep sadness that we have to accept Larry's request to beg off the Gilas pool for the meantime,” Reyes said in a statement released to media offices.
“Unknown to many, Larry has been playing through a variety of foot and back injuries that have bothered him the past two years; and it is only his great dedication that has prevented him from taking anytime off,” he added.
“However, the rigors of playing almost non-stop in the PBA and national team for the past three years has taken its toll, leaving Larry with no recourse but to accede to his doctors’ orders for complete rest and rehabilitation. We will definitely miss Larry's quiet leadership and unyielding heart.”
The 32-year-old Talk 'N Text guard averaged 5.3 points on 37 percent three-point shooting in last year’s Fiba Asia championships, mostly as the second off-guard off the bench after Jeff Chan.
The 6-foot-2 Fonacier was supposed to leave for Miami with the 16 other members of the Gilas pool on Friday morning for its scheduled two-week training camp.
Gilas then plays a series of tune-up matches in Europe, including a pocket tournament in France, before traveling to Seville, Spain in time for the start of the Fiba World Cup on August 30.